When you picture the mortgage process, there’s a good chance you picture something painful and frustrating.
Enter Quicken Loans. The company has made a name for itself as a leader in online mortgage loans. In 2015, Quicken Loans even introduced the “Rocket Mortgage,” which it bills as the fastest and easiest way to get a mortgage.
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This Quick Loans review offers a look at the different mortgage choices and offers information on accessing the Rocket Mortgage platform.
Quicken Loans review
Quicken Loans offers a variety of mortgage products, including conventional mortgages and those based on government programs. It’s also possible to refinance your home loan using Quicken Loans.
Quicken Loans specializes in flexible payment terms and programs designed to match your financial needs. One of those programs is the PMI Advantage. This helps you avoid paying monthly private mortgage insurance premiums if you don’t have a 20 percent down payment.
In general, Quicken Loans offers a relatively painless experience. Their convenient mobile app even allows you to upload and sign documents. And, when it’s time to close on your loan, Quicken Loans will send a notary to your home, you work, or wherever you are.
The main drawback to using Quicken Loans is that you won’t have access to construction loans or home equity loans (including home equity lines of credit). Quicken Loans also doesn’t consider alternative credit data, so if you have a thin file, you could be out of luck. Finally, if you want to be able to talk to someone in person, it’s not likely to happen. There are online chat and phone options, but you probably won’t be sitting down with a loan officer.
If you don’t mind a more DIY feel to your mortgage process, here are some of the home loan options offered through Quicken Loans.
Quicken Loans is an FHA-approved lender. To qualify for an FHA loan through Quicken Loans, you need a credit score of at least 580 and a down payment of at least 3.5 percent. Types of FHA loans include fixed rate terms of 15, 20, 25, and 30 years.
If you qualify for a VA loan, it’s possible to get one through Quicken Loans. You can get fixed-rate loans with 15-, 20-, and 30-year terms, or get a five-year adjustable-rate mortgage. VA loans don’t require a down payment or monthly PMI. Additionally, the credit requirements can be looser than for a conventional mortgage. There is an up-front funding fee for VA loans.
It’s also possible to get fixed-rate mortgages from Quicken Loans. Quicken Loans offers 15- and 30-year fixed mortgages. With these mortgages, it’s possible to make a down payment of as little as 5 percent.
However, because it’s not a government program, you might need a higher credit score to qualify for one of these mortgages. Your credit score, income, down payment size, and other factors used by other lenders to set home loan terms are the basis for your mortgage interest rate.
With an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) from Quicken Loans, you have a fixed interest rate for five or seven years. When that period is over, your mortgage rate will either go higher or lower, depending on market conditions.
The good news is that Quicken Loans caps its rate. Rates can’t exceed 5% above your initial rate. Additionally, the adjustment won’t be more than 2% a year. If your initial rate is 3.99%, it won’t go higher than 8.99% — no matter what happens in the markets.
Mortgage terms are in line with other mortgages, and it’s possible to get a 30-year adjustable mortgage with Quicken Loans. Like other mortgages, Quicken Loans offers ARMs with as little as 5 percent down. It’s also worth noting that you can get a VA or FHA ARM, with the accompanying requirements and benefits.
Quicken Loans also offers jumbo loans, which are those that are bigger than the conventional loan limit of $424,100 (or $636,150 for Alaska and Hawaii). Quicken Loans offers flexible terms for jumbo loans (including refinancing), but on a case-by-case basis. You can also access FHA jumbo loans through Quicken Loans.
Quicken Loans also offers mortgage refinancing. You can refinance your home to a 15- or 30-year fixed mortgage. It’s also possible to refinance to an adjustable-rate.
Additionally, Quicken Loans offers the FHA Streamline Refinance. If you have an FHA loan, the Streamline Refinance allows you to go through the process quicker, without an appraisal. Additionally, credit requirements are minimal.
In 2012, I used Quicken Loans to refinance a home as a Streamline Refinance. The process was quick and easy. I was able to scan and upload documents to a special folder and track the progress of my loan. Additionally, when I had questions, I could email a dedicated representative who coached me through the process. The whole thing took less than six weeks, and was completed entirely online, except for when the notary came to my home for the final signing.
Quicken Loans bills the YOURgage as a flexible mortgage option. It also includes refinancing. Instead of being stuck with a 30-year mortgage when you refinance with 27 years remaining, Quicken Loans will provide you with a shorter loan. The idea is to plan your mortgage around life events. As with other mortgage options offered by Quicken Loans, your credit situation, income, and existing debt are considered when setting your loan terms and interest rate.
Finally, Quicken Loans offers what it calls PMI Advantage. In many cases, if you don’t have a 20 percent down payment, you must get special private mortgage insurance (PMI) and make monthly premium payments. Quicken Loans offers two options for eliminating monthly PMI payments:
- Agree to a higher interest rate and Quicken Loans will cover the PMI cost.
- Make a one-time PMI payment at closing to get it over with.
It’s important to understand that this isn’t a way to avoid PMI. You’ll still pay a cost. However, in some cases, you might save money in the long run. Consult with a knowledgeable financial planner to run the numbers, though. In some cases, you might end up paying more. PMI Advantage isn’t an advantage for everyone.
For homebuyers looking to streamline the process further, Quicken Loans offers the Rocket Mortgage platform. You can complete applications for the loans above with the help of the Rocket Mortgage platform.
Using the Rocket Mortgage platform
No Quicken Loans review is complete without a look at the Rocket Mortgage platform. It’s important to understand that Rocket Mortgage isn’t a type of mortgage — it’s the service portal used to apply for your mortgage and handle all the paperwork.
The Rocket Mortgage platform uses the same underwriting standards as the rest of Quicken Loans, so you won’t get any special breaks. However, it is possible to access the government program loans from this platform.
You can use Rocket Mortgage for buying a home or for refinancing. The platform asks you questions based on your situation and even verifies your accounts and credit situation.
Get your mortgage loan quote from Rocket Mortgage
Step 1: Create an account at the Rocket Mortgage website. If you have questions, you can select “Talk to Us” in the upper right corner to connect with a mortgage advisor at any time.
Step 2: Answer a series of questions designed to assess your situation. You need to share who’s on the loan (if you’ll have a co-borrower), and share information about your income and the type of home you want to buy. This is all typical when applying for a mortgage, whether you are refinancing or buying your first home.
Step 3: Connect your bank accounts and the platform will pull your asset information. This is one of the nicer touches offered by Rocket Mortgage. You can adjust the information, or remove assets from consideration, after the boxes have been auto-filled.
Step 4: Enter other information manually. One downside is that Rocket Mortgage won’t grab your investment account information. Instead, you have to enter the information by hand. Later, your accounts will be verified by documentation you upload to Quicken Loans.
Step 5: Continue to answer questions about how much you can put toward a down payment and your demographics.
Step 6: Enter information to pull your credit report. It’s important to understand that this is not a soft pull. It’s a hard credit inquiry, and Quicken Loans says your score may drop three to five points.
Once done, it takes only a minute or so to determine your options.
It’s even possible to adjust the options in some cases, using the slide to change some of your terms, based on whether you want a longer loan, or whether you would rather reduce your interest rate or lower your costs.
The options presented by Rocket Mortgage aren’t your final offers. However, you can choose something you like and click on the “See If I’m Approved” option. If approved, you can lock in your interest rate and even print out a pre-approval letter to use when house hunting.
There are a few more hoops to jump through before closing. Quicken Loans still requires all the trappings of the mortgage process, including an appraisal and verifying that the title to your desired home is clear. You might also need to supply additional documentation, such as an income audit or statement of where your down payment is coming from, depending on your situation.
Happily, someone is available via online chat, email, or phone every step of the way to help you move forward.
While this is likely one of the quickest ways to get approved for a mortgage, actually finishing all the steps to close requires more than a single click.
Is Quicken Loans right for you?
Quicken Loans stands out as one of the premier online mortgage companies. With Rocket Mortgage, the company only solidifies its position. If you are interested in a quick process, comfortable with online technology, and interested in taking a larger role in large financial transactions, Quicken Loans can be a good choice.
However, if you want to speak with someone face-to-face or if you want a little more support, Quicken Loans might not be the best choice. Additionally, if you hope to build your dream home or if you want a home equity loan, Quicken Loans won’t provide the loans you need.
Carefully consider your needs and shop around before choosing a mortgage lender. Include Quicken Loans in your search, but don’t commit until you’ve compared your interest rate and other terms with those offered by other lenders.